Wednesday, February 17, 2010

I Fear This 'Civilization'

I am becoming afraid of western civilization. I am afraid of how we are interpreting it as Nigerians. 
We are forgetting our core traditional African values of honesty, integrity, fair play,industry and all the other good things we were  once known for.

We have done away with all these and all we now think about is consumption. How much we can eat, how much we can wear, how much we can gather to oppress our neighbours.

There was a time in this country when the most respected individuals in any community were,not particularly in this order, the teacher, the priest ,and the policeman.

Sadly, these individuals are the most hated in many places because they aid the growth of evil.

These days, the most respected person in any community in Nigeria is the one who has money. We now value money more than integrity, we value it more than honesty, we value it more than godliness. Those who have money ride roughshod over those who are wiser, older, and more noble. And we all keep quiet. In those days they would have been ostracized.

These days, it does not matter how a man has made his money, all we are concerned with is that 'the man don hammer' When I was growing up as a boy, in the early seventies, we were always afraid to bring home a football, or any other thing that did not belong to us, we knew our parents would ask us where we got it from and ask us to return it to the owner.

These days it is not uncommon to see parents borrowing money from their teenage children when they know these children are not working. These parents say their children are 'sharp'. Yes they are sharp prostitutes and armed robbers.

The fall from grace can also be seen in our education system. Nigerians no longer pass the general certificate in education because we have abandoned proper education.

Some parents now pay  teachers money for their children to write their exams at 'special centres'; these are centres with a high success ,or pass, rate. For the extra money paid, their children would be coached during the exam proper. That is why the quality of graduates we are producing are the worst in the world.

We are producing graduates who are only proficient in pidgin English, people who do not know anything at all about the larger world except for Beyonce and J Lo and Chanel O. That is the extent of their education.

The parents who understand this danger now send their children to school in Ghana. Ghana has been consistent in her academic growth while we have gone backwards. We started going backwards when we stopped writing 'A' levels exams, instead we opted for the 'let my people go, automatic pass' six-three-three-four system. Why would a parent knowingly pay for his child to cheat? Because of the decadence in values.

We place so much emphasis on paper qualification more than the actual education itself. 

Our traditional institutions, that are supposed to be the repositories of all that we hold dear, our culture,mores and norms, have not been spared.

Monarchs now give  titles to fraudsters ,armed robbers, and dubious politicians, because they are sure to part with money:titles used to be a way of rewarding hard work, industry, honesty, integrity, and all the other qualities we sought to encourage in people, sadly today, it no longer so.

Our spiritual institutions have not fared any better. We seem to have fallen into the fatal error of equating money, and the having of it, with piety and godliness. So you find that known thieves, because of their fat tithes, are ordained deacons and appointed to head important committees. Poor people do not seem to make good leaders in church any more.
Our foundations are so fundamentally compromised that it is going to take more than a generation to fix.

Strangers, and visitors, are no longer safe  anywhere because the ancient culture of safe passage and hospitality no longer hold true; we are more likely to rob them, burn their houses in the name of God, defile their children,or in extreem cases use them for rituals. When did we become Sodom and Gomorah?

It is perfectly normal these days to embezzle government funds, when you are caught, you settle and plea bargain. If you do go to jail,you go for only three months. When released your people will organise a 'grand civic reception' to honour their son; then you would present yourself to serve them by running for governor. Why do we all suffer from collective amnesia and somnambulism (sleepwalking) ?

Today in Nigeria, it is a crime to be poor, it is a crime to be honest, it is a crime to be upright, it is even a crime to be patient and hardworking:the system mocks and punishes you.You are not protected if you are virtuous, instead you are told you are not' sharp'.

Any society set up like this, is primed for self-destruction; this is so because where goodness is not rewarded ,only evil will prevail.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Goodluck Nigeria !

Can we dare to hope for good luck in Goodluck. He is an unexpected opportunity for this country to move forward. The way things are aligned now, the potential is there, but the effort to actualise it would be herculean.

We finally have someone who is not aligned to any of the problematic major ethnic groups. One would then expect that, because of the fear that he would be accused of addressing only his minority ethnic group, he would overdo himself  in catering for all groups in the country.

The hawks who have run things up to this point are licking their bruises right now because their man is no longer in power. It is not a capitulation, or abdication, by Yar'Adua; the decision was taken out of his hands.He did not want to go, he was shoved aside.One would expect a continuity of policies but I suspect that many attempts are going to be made in the next three months if Yar'Adua does not get well, to discredit Goodluck Jonathan. People are going to concoct all manner of stories to smear him, and possibly pave the way for impeachment proceedings.

They have failed in preventing Goodluck Jonathan from becoming acting President, the fall back plan would be to remove him completely and pave the way for the emergence of an Hausa president.

This is the next battle I believe we are going to fight, the battle to keep Goodluck in power and prevent an illegality. Goodluck to Nigeria and GOD BLESS NIGERIA FOREVER!

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Eureka !

Some may see it as no victory at all, but the National Assembly's decision to pass a resolution appointing Goodluck Jonathan as acting president is a landmark victory for all those who love Nigeria. We we need to do now is to consolidate this victory.

There are so many issues waiting to be solved. What we have just seen is people power at work. Even God respects people power, because he created it. It is an eternal principle that when people come together and set their mind on a course of action, if they persevere, they would usually succeed.

The Peoples Democratic Party wanted us to believe,and accept, that the constitution of the PDP was superior to the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. That can not be so, it is like the tail attempting to wag the dog.

They looked for different ways to dodge doing the right thing, they stalled, they went into denial, they declined jurisdictional responsibility, all in a bid to perpetrate and perpetuate an illegality. It was because we kept at it and refused to give up that the right thing has now been done. A few individuals are not greater than this country.

We now need to set our hearts on a wholesale reform of how politics is played in Nigeria. Money politics, and politics of violence and thuggery, should be confronted by all those who love this country to salvage Nigeria for our children.

How many of us remember what happened in Pakistan when General Pavez Musharraf suspended the Chief Judge of the country on  frivolous and unconstitutional grounds, the lawyers in that country took to the streets until the fellow was reinstated. It took a long time in coming, and it was in another government, but they persevered, and won.

This country needs new leaders like Gani Fawehinmi, people who would not be afraid of the pain and suffering that is certain to accompany them but who, for the good of all, would grit their teeth and say it is worth it if it makes Nigeria a better society.

Monday, February 8, 2010

My Friend's Mother

She had lived in Jos for more than forty years,all her children had been born in Jos.Though a Muslim, all her children went to a Christian school in Jos, Hillcrest. The only life her family knew was in Jos, and the only place they called home ,was Jos. Originally from Ilorin, she had refused to go back to Ilorin after retirement. Jos was the only life she knew. That was until the last madness in the city.

This lovely woman whose children had all grown up, and left the home, was a mother to many.She regularly paid the school fees of many of the many indigent children in the area, in addition she fed many who had no food.

What was her crime, she was a Muslim living among Christians. When she called her daughter on that day to say they were coming to destroy her house, her daughter was so confident that she would be spared.
The next hour she called that soldiers had come to rescue her, another one hour passed and she called to say they had started breaking down her fence, not too long after she called to say her house was being ransacked, and finally she informed us that it had been torched.

The frustration for us was that we were helpless to help, and anxious over her. Her children's memories of growing up were locked in that house, and with it's destruction all that they had to hold on too were memories, the memorabilia were gone.

She had escaped to another neighbourhood that was not too safe, and the next goal was to spirit her out of the place. As her daughter was calling some of the young men that she knew in the area, it was evident from their reactions that they were part of the ungodly and wicked destruction going on.

I called my friends in Jos and begged them to help this sweet woman, one of them told me there was no way her home could be destroyed because she live in a christian community, when I told the fellow that she was a Muslim, the fellow said no wonder her home was destroyed.

When did we become like this? When did we drop below the level of accepted, and acceptable, depravity?
It is common knowledge, in every culture across the globe, that you protect the alien, or stranger, in your midst. Have we become a new specie of low lifers who do not have any moral scruples? Have we reinvented a new level of wickedness?

This lady's crime was that she was a Muslim living among Christians. When did God give us the mandate to fight for him?
Or could it be that this crisis is an excuse for ethnic cleansing?
Right now I really do not feel to good about  the things happening in Plateau, the not so beautiful.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Nero Fiddles While Rome Burns

The Borno state House of Assembly has just passed a law.These are the details of the new law: the outgoing governor and his deputy, when they leave office would be given vehicles, and a house each in addition to free medical care for them, their wives and children, for the rest of their lives.In addition, they would be entitled to an all expense paid holiday anywhere in the world every year.

Not too long ago, the House of Representatives in Abuja introduced for consideration a bill to ban, and punish cruelty to animals.

A committee  in the  same legislature is  considering a bill to increase how how much is appropriated for the upkeep of past leaders of the country from two hundred and fifty million naira a year to two billion naira. 

You may wonder where all this is leading to, Borno state has had many governors in the past, how much do you think this new law would drain from the state's resources? Is there no better thing to do with government resources? Could this money not have been used to build hospitals, or schools for the state?

When people heard of the cruelty to animal law being proposed one commentator said they should consider passing laws to address the cruelty Nigerians are suffering right now. This same house has not been able to pass the Freedom of Information law in more than eight years.

Labour has been asking for a living wage for Nigerians for more than three years now, yet the house is proposing an atrocious increase in how much would be spent to keep those who maladministered and misruled this nation in more undeserved comfort.

Nigeria belongs to all of us, we need to stand up and fight for her survival because those who are governing her right now do not have a clue on what is good for her These people are like the Roman Emperor,Nero, who fiddled as Rome went up in smoke.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Only You Can Change Nigeria

You must be laughing at the title of this blog, but it is true. You may even argue that a tree does not make a forest, but you are not a forest, neither are you a tree. Instead of all these, I prefer to see you as a seed. You are a potential for change, and a witness to a greater tomorrow.
All you need to do is to constantly refuse to do things the way they expect you to:the Nigerian way.
What is the current Nigerian way? It is contract inflation,African time, dishonesty, impatience,unruly behaviour in public places and all the other vices too numerous to mention.
The system does not encourage one to be upright. Those who are leading us are giving us all the wrong signals; they say if you are elected to an office in government, or you are given an appointment: that it is a time for you to chop. No it is not, I disagree, it is a time to serve the people. It is an abberation today to find an elected councillor who does not have a palatial mansion for a home. If he does not build a big house within three months of his election, his own people will be the ones asking if he is well.
You can make a change, do not join those who encourage others to loot the treasury, it is our commonwealth.The more politicians take out of it for themselves, the less there is for the rest of us.
Let us imbibe a culture of patience.We are the most impatient people I have ever seen,yet we are woeful when it comes to keeping to time.We reward those who are impatient by serving them first instead of censuring them,and asking them to wait for their turn. We reward those who come late to events by waiting for them to come,the right thing to do is to start whether they are there or not. If they miss the event today maybe they will come on time tomorrow. In your own small and special way, change Nigeria. Keep to time and be patient, do not admire thieves who have stolen from you because they are in government: what they deserve is condemnation.
If you find yourself in government it is not an opportunity for you to be rich, it is one for you to enrich the people.The truth is that it takes one person at a time to change a nation, as each one changed encourages the other to change, the nation, eventually changes as a result of the overwhelming tide.
We should not expect Americans to come and change our nation for us, this in not their nation, they have no stake here, ultimately the change that we need must come from us, one at a time.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Did we invent it?

A lot of times I hear the phrase 'home grown democracy' and I wonder what the people saying it mean. Do they mean it in the sense that we have invented democracy, something that has never existed before anywhere on earth, and are nurturing it until maturity? Because the other phrase that you hear is 'nascent democracy'. Are they saying that democracy has not grown anywhere in the world to maturity, so we do not know the full dynamics of this wonderful  new thing called democracy. The people who usually peddle these lies are those who want us to expect less from our leaders, they seek to excuse their incompetence, and capacity for mischief.
There is no such thing as' home grown democracy'! It is almost like saying 'home grown sunshine' or' home grown water' Sunshine is sunshine  everywhere and water is water anywhere you see it. No water is special. In fact the qualities of water are colourless, odourless, and tasteless. Any water that falls short of these universally accepted parameters is not pure water, but an abberation, and an anachronism!
So when they say it is home grown democracy,are they referring to elections  brazenly rigged,as it happened in Edo state where in a constituency of forty five thousand registered voters PDP polled sixty thousand votes, and in an election conducted by INEC the stamps of NEC and FEDECO, the previous election bodies, were used to stamp supposedly valid ballots for the PDP. Is it home grown democracy for our leaders to be busy making laws that take care of only their special interests and comforts, this is not home grown democracy, it is not democracy at all. We know what true democracy is! We see it at work everyday all over the world.
When they say we must not 'heat up the polity' what they mean is that you should not question their actions ,or intentions. Meanwhile, this is exactly what the doctor orderd for the polity to get better. The only people who are afraid of the spotlight are those who have something to hide. They believe that our asking questions would lead to their exposure, and ultimately, their downfall.
Is it a bad thing if they fall from grace as a result of their malfeasance, or misconduct? I  believe it is perfectly wonderful. So go ahead my friends, ask them difficult questions, probe their motives, and double check and fact check their claims. Nigeria belongs to us all.GOD BLESS NIGERIA FOREVER!